MMD Lusaka province chairman William Banda is disappointed with the Zambia police’s reaction over the meeting he held with other party cadres. Mr. Banda wonders why the police officers bundled the party cadres in the manner they did when they would have talked to them in a proper manner.
He has since refuted media reports that the party convened a meeting to talk about the Patriotic Front Government’s performance in the 90 days. In an interview with Journalists, Mr. Banda says the party only decided to meet so as to decide the way forward as well as to elect the new district leadership.
The MMD provincial chairman said that it is good that the police have set a tone that whoever meets, regardless of the political party and without informing the police will be apprehended for illegal assembly.
[pullquote]The MMD provincial chairman said that it is good that the police have set a tone that whoever meets, regardless of the political party and without informing the police will be apprehended for illegal assembly.[/pullquote]
On Thursday, warned and cautioned MMD Lusaka Province chairman William Banda and eight other party members for unlawful assembly. Police said Mr Banda and about 20 other MMD members unlawfully assembled at a named eating place between Kabulonga and Woodlands where they were planning to organise people to rise against the PF government, for failing to fulfil its campaign promises within 90 days.
The Police said the group had a closed-door assembly between 10:00 hours and 14:00 hours and refused to answer knocks from plain-clothed detectives who approached them.
And The Human Rights Commission (HRC) has cited the police of having acted outside the law when they detained and recorded a warn and caution statement from Lusaka province MMD Chairperson, William and others for alleged unlawful assembly.
The Commission has since asked the Zambia police service to clarify to Zambians what it means by unlawful assembly.
[pullquote]He clarifies that notifying the police is a formality and is useful if the organizers of a meeting suspect that the numbers of participants will swell therefore pose a security risk.[/pullquote]
HRC spokesperson, Samuel Kasankha says the people who were picked up were not obligated by law to get a permit or notify the police about their meeting especially that it was a small gathering.
He clarifies that notifying the police is a formality and is useful if the organizers of a meeting suspect that the numbers of participants will swell therefore pose a security risk.
The Commission spokesperson notes that the police should slap the arrested people with a different charge other than unlawful assembly if there is evidence that Mr Banda’s meeting was meant to create disorder against the PF government.
Mr Kasankha has urged the police to ensure that their reactions to meetings are undertaken within the confines of the law. He stresses that the Zambian constitution guarantees freedom of assembly.
The Commission has since cautioned the police to be careful not to be seen to be biased against some sections of society.